When anyone who follows the NFL hears about this matchup, they immediately envision bloody battles with the likes of Hines Ward, Ray Lewis, Ed Reed and Troy Polamalu.
While those were the prime days of this AFC North rivalry, a lot has changed since then. The Pittsburgh Steelers were favored to win the division in 2017, and potentially be the AFC representative in Super Bowl 52, while the Baltimore Ravens have been absolutely ravished by injuries, more than any other team in the NFL.
However they got to this point, both teams are 2-1 and tied for first place in the division. The winner today will put them in sole possession of first place, and with the game in Baltimore nothing is guaranteed for the Steelers.
If you haven’t heard, the Steelers haven’t won in Baltimore since 2012, and it wasn’t Ben Roethlisberger who was the quarterback of that team, it was Charlie Batch. Roethlisberger hasn’t won in Baltimore since 2010. The Ravens own the Steelers at M&T Bank Stadium, and this fact makes picking the winner of this game even more difficult.
These games always come down to the wire, and are usually decided by a touchdown or less. The Steelers are on the road, but the Ravens played Week 3 in London and elected to not have their bye week immediately after their international trip.
Las Vegas likes the Steelers as 3-point road favorites, but this certainly bucks the above trends when it comes to Pittsburgh playing on the road, but more so in Baltimore. With all arrows pointing towards Baltimore winning and advancing to 3-1 on the season, my gut is telling me something different.
This is all about the Steelers offense. You know, the supposed most lethal unit in the league who hasn’t scored more than two touchdowns in a game throughout this early regular season?
I have a feeling the offense gets back on track Sunday, and it starts with No. 26. The Ravens will be without their gigantic defensive tackle in Brandon Williams, and that could equate to success for the black-and-gold offense, but mainly Le’Veon Bell. Compound this with the loss of Marshal Yanda on the offensive line, and Pittsburgh’s defense could be swarming around Joe Flacco all day.
A lot has changed since the prime time of this AFC North rivalry, and this game too will be a knock down, drag out affair, but I like the Steelers to finally break their streak at M&T Bank Stadium in Week 4.
Steelers — 20
Ravens — 17
Other AFC North Picks:
Cincinnati — 28
Cleveland — 20